ATLANTA, GA. – The Army West Point football team took care of business on both sides of the ball en route to earning a season-opening 43-10 victory over Georgia State on Saturday afternoon at Center Parc Stadium. The victory marks the 50th of head coach Jeff Monken’s Army career.
The nation’s top defensive unit from a season ago got to work quickly opposite the Panthers (0-1) and recovered a fumble on the opening drive, thanks to Arik Smith. With the ball in his hand, starting quarterback Tyhier Tyler and his offense then put together an eight-play, 40-yard drive that culminated with Tyson Riley’s first career touchdown. The four-yard rush put the Black Knights (1-0) up 7-0.
After forcing the Panthers to punt away their next possession, the Black Knights once again marched their way down the field on their second drive. Tyler found wide receiver Sean Eckert with a 26-yard pass for the second-to-last play in a six-minute push that ended with AJ Howard’s first career touchdown, extending the lead to 14-0.
Even when Georgia State had the ball, the momentum continued to favor the visiting team as the Panthers’ third drive was ended prematurely when Andre Carter II’s sack forced them to punt for the second time in three possessions.
Christian Anderson made his first appearance of the year in the final minutes of the first quarter, coming in under center for the Black Knights. Though the clock wound down before he could get into the red zone, he picked things right back up at the start of the second quarter and orchestrated a 13-play stretch that ended with Jakobi Buchanan’s two-yard rushing touchdown, bumping the lead to 21-0.
Following three unanswered touchdowns, Georgia State used a 75-yard drive to get on the board and cut the advantage down to 21-7. The Panthers were able to force the Black Knights to punt, but the momentum did not change for long as Jabari Moore picked off a pass and returned it four yards to GSU’s nine yard line. The turnover resulted in Anderson rushing the ball in himself and extending the lead to 27-7 at the half.
Though a majority of the action came in the first half, Army continued to control the game after the break. A 40-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to Tyrell Robinson, the team’s longest since a 53-yard pass against Mercer (Oct. 24, 2020), got the team back into the scoring column on its second drive of the second half. The drive was partially enabled by the defensive duo of Nolan Cockrill and Chris Frey, who came up with a fourth-down stop to give the Cadets the ball.
The teams then went on to trade field goals, with Cole Talley notching a 22-yard kick in response to the Panthers’ 33-yard effort, before the Cadets scored their sixth and final touchdown of the day in the final minutes of the game. Jemel Jones, the third quarterback to take snaps, connected a 32-yard pass with Braheam Murphy, pushing the score to its final 43-10 margin.
Army will return home to open up Michie Stadium with a game against Western Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 11:30 a.m. The game will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network and will be the fourth meeting in the history between the two teams.